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Many mental health professionals working with children and juveniles either do not have the training in psychological testing techniques, or sufficient diagnostic time to recognise significant indicators of future serious violent offending. The research literature suggests the diagnosis of conduct disorder (CD) can be a strong indicator of serious young adult violence. One component of CD, cruelty to animals, would also appear to be a significant indicator or "red flag" in the background of many serial killers and thus, it is suggested, in the history of perpetrators of other forms of major interpersonal violence. Either concurrently with CD or as a major indicator of antisocial behaviour in its own right, cruelty to animals deserves more attention from both a research and assessment perspective.
This document has been peer reviewed.